Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blessing is a cycle...

Blessing is a cycle.

When we bless someone else, we get a blessing in return.

So, what about with God?

Many times in the Bible we are called to bless the Lord.  In Psalm 134 the word “bless” is used three times.  Twice the Psalm entreats us to “bless the Lord.”

However the last time it is used, it is a blessing spoken on us… “May the Lord bless you…”

Yesterday I finished up the Bible study I was working on through the summer.  “Stepping Up,” by Beth Moore.

The last couple of days she made the point that blessing is a cycle with God, not just with one another.  It is a lopsided cycle, but a cycle nonetheless. 

In faith we come into God’s presence, blessing Him, honoring Him, praising Him, worshiping Him.  Then He responds, longing to bless us, opening His hands to us to give blessing.  And we walk away.

How many times have I gone into worship, struggling to remove the distractions so that I could truly bless God, truly praise Him, and then walked out and later felt empty?  I felt blessed at the time of the service, in the service filled and at peace, joy in my heart.  Once I left the building, headed home and back to my “life” I felt empty and restless, with the worries of life pressing in again.

I can spend my time in the Bible, studying and praying in the morning, but it doesn’t seem to carry over into my day, to relate at all to anything I am actually doing and encountering in the day. 

Not all the time, but it seems to happen more often than I want to admit.

Beth said that many times we come out of our times of blessing God and leave His blessings for us behind.

Think about that for a moment. 

If blessing really is a cycle, we bless God, He blesses us and back again, why would we not want to take His blessings with us?

We praise God and bless Him, honor Him and lift up His name, and then He pours out His blessing upon us. 

It is hard for this little brain of mine to comprehend how it all works.  I offer up my pitiful attempts to bless God, and then His infinite mercy and grace are flooded over me.   How can I possibly walk away from a time like that and not be blessed?

And yet…

Many times I blindly stumble out of my times with God, leaving behind His mercy and grace, all flooded over and dripping on the floor.  I come out forgetting I was drenched, feeling dry as a bone.

Yesterday, after reading Beth’s words the night before was a whole new day.  Monday I was those dry bones.  Yesterday, these dry bones were dancing, washed and covered over by the flood of His grace.  His blessings washed away the doubts, fears and stress of the day before and I was free.

All I had to do was ask.  All I had to do was ask God to help me walk out of my time with Him with His blessings in my hands.  I opened my hands and gave Him all my garbage, all my worries, all my stress.  Instead of dropping my hands and walking away when I was done, I kept them open to receive what He had for me.  In the process my heart stayed open to receive the life giving rain of grace, and my eyes stayed open to see the peace and joy God gave me as a result.

It started another cycle of blessing.  Praising Him for seeing and feeling the change, for being able to walk on with His blessing over me, in me.  And my Jesus blessing me again and again throughout the day, reminding me of His blessings for me… 

Oh His grace…

in the moments I fail
the moments I am freed…
in the moments of victim
and then
the victory… 

I stumble
and then
I cry…
He lifts me up
and then
I fly…

 His blessings are
beyond compare
To bless Him
and be blessed

Oh His grace
His grace…

Friday, September 2, 2011

Rest? How do you quiet the guilt to really rest?

I haven't joined in here before, but I saw a friend's post telling about it and the word struck my heart today because it is exactly what I am feeling.

Gypsy Mama has a "five minute Friday" every week.  She shares a word and then you take five minutes, no more or less, and free write, with no editing, on a word she chooses.  This week the word was REST.

As I have been getting up early with the kids each day, I am still exhausted.  My eyes are crossing trying to look at the screen and its only 8am. I don't want to get rid of the exhaused feeling with a latte (homemade) just yet, because then I am not listening to what my body is trying to tell me....

I wrote below a bit of what my turmoil is and what is currently keeping me from sliding back into bed.

I am going to link up to Gypsy Mama's post, and you can go over there and see what else others have been writing about, as well as the "rules" if you want to join in.

Preface, my writing went over the five minutes, I think I wrote 7 minutes instead, but had to get that last thought out.  :)

Here we go............

This is my second day with both kids in school.

I don't know what to do.  Yesterday I feel like I did a fat lot of nothing. I didn't clean (well I loaded the dishwasher and did a quiet time and unloaded the dishwasher and made supper and ran errands first thing in the morning).

I realized when I went to bed, that though I took a few moments to rest here and there throughout my day i didn't really rest.

See, we have a house in town that we need to sell. but we need to get it all cleaned up and ready to go and it's no where near ready to go.  I really need to go into town on my 2 days off without kids and scrub the bathroom so i can caulk around the tub.  I need to clean windows and finish cleaning the kitchen and clean the floors, powerwash the deck and the outside of the house.....

And where does rest come into all of this?

I run from one thing to another Monday through Wednesday. Then I come home and have Thursday and Friday off and Saturday and Sunday are devoted to family and church and I can't make myself pull away.

What is it that makes me feel guilty for taking time to rest?

I need the quiet. I need the time to spend time with God.  Just Him and me not Him and me and laundry, or Him and me and cleaning either house!  I need to hear His still, small voice.

But I feel guilty.
Why can't I rest at home in the time I have to rest?

Do I hear a voice in the back of my head telling me I need to get this house under control and keep it clean? Do I hear another voice asking me if I have the other house ready to sell? (that would be a very big YES to both those questions!)

I want to feel the freedom to rest, and feel the peace that passes understanding the "be still and know I am God" type of rest.

I need to somehow feel like i can rest, take a nap, sleep in, (or go back to bed) and not feel guilty about it or that someone is judging me for it.  I need to find a space here, in this house, that I can curl up and rest in Him without feeling guilt.

How do I unplug from this cycle of "do something" or feel guilt?

I am going to have to go try finding a place, here at home, where I can chill and not do anything but listen for Gods still small voice. 

....but it won't be my kitchen! That has 2 five gallon pails of fresh picked tomatoes that need something done with them....